Student Spotlight on Nicholas Paradise

Student Spotlight Nicholas ParadiseIn his on-campus suite, Nicholas Paradise grabbed his acoustic guitar and began to strum a series of random chords. His close friends listened as he turned a simple chord progression into much more by adding unique zest. There was passion in his strums as the guitar’s crisp vibrations engulfed the space around him.

Paradise, a sophomore music student, has held music close to his heart ever since childhood. The beginning of his musical journey was characterized by constantly being around music, listening his parents’ CDs and receiving his first guitar at the age of six. It was a spark that ignited a powerful musical dream.

“I loved music so much as a kid, and obviously I’ve carried on with it,” said Paradise, his passion on the subject settling in the faint smile on his face. Paradise said that he used to take guitar lessons, but became much more proficient by teaching himself.

However, Paradise decided to become a music major only one year ago. After a year of majoring in media arts at Sacred Heart University, he transferred to Monmouth to pursue a degree in music.

Paradise said, “I came to the realization that, ‘Yeah, I should major in music, this is what I want to do, I can’t see myself anywhere else.’”

Paradise is involved with Blue Hawk Records, Monmouth’s student-run record label. His role consisted of determining which artists will be featured on the record’s 14th compilation album. Auditions for the album took place on Feb. 11.

“Blue Hawk Records is really cool and unique. I don’t know any other college that has their own record label run by students,” said Paradise. “It’s also a big reason why I came here, because other music programs weren’t nearly as all-encompassing as this. There’s a lot of accessibility when it comes to being involved in the whole process.”

Joe Rapolla, specialist professor of music, Chair of the Music Department, and Director of the Music Industry Program, has Paradise as a student in his Applied Music Industry II class.

“He has demonstrated an enthusiasm to participate in projects that are related to the music industry,” Rapolla said. “I love when students take the initiative, are assertive, and demonstrate that they want to take the leadership position, bring others along, and advance the cause. I see that in Nick.”

For the rest of the semester, Paradise will be teaming up with artists to help finish the songs that will be on the record. He encouraged his friends to get involved with the record label as well.

Music surrounds the space between him and his friends, whether it’s teaching a friend how to play guitar or sending music recommendations. For his friends, Paradise is prime inspiration to hold on to passions and pursue aspirations.

On a Wednesday afternoon, he began dabbling with his friend’s candy apple red bass for hours with an eager attempt to step out of his musical comfort zone. The bass matched the color of his checkered pullover and beanie. “If you can play guitar you can definitely learn the bass,” he declared, determined to take his musical abilities to the next level.

Aside from the bass guitar, Paradise is determined to learn how to play piano and drums. “If I can play all the instruments that I want in my music, I can just do it all myself and that’s my end goal,” he said, pulling up his sleeves. A rising enthusiasm was noticeable in his voice, smile, and hand gestures. “I want to play everything. I want to be a multi-instrumentalist. I want to be as good as I can with every instrument.”

Morgan Sottung, a sophomore business student and one of Paradise’s close friends, said, “He talks about music all the time. It’s good to know he’s doing what he loves.”

As Paradise persists through his musical journey, he will continue to find inspiration in his favorite musicians. His musical influences include Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, his favorite band, and Kevin Parker from the band Tame Impala.

“I think I have it in me to be somewhat successful in this industry,” said Paradise, when speculating about his future. “I want to be able to make my own music. I want to be able to be in the studio. I want to know how to produce music. I want to know the ins and outs of the whole industry just so I can be comfortable anywhere.”

“The music industry program here has definitely prepared me,” he continued. “Not only do I have classes on songwriting and producing, but I also have classes on business and the industry as a whole, so I get the full scope. Even though I don’t know what I want to do, I kind of know a thing or two about a thing or two.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Nicholas Paradise